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|Rating LSU running backs|
You know what happens when it gets real slow.
So not to buck the system, here's a list of my favorite running backs I've watched through the years at LSU. So remember, these are backs I have watched in person (sorry Billy Cannon, LaBrandon Toefield, Johnny Robinson, Jerry Stovall, Joe Labruzzo and Jimmy Taylor, etc.
No. 10: Charles Alexander. Alexander the Great. Never forget how he ran straight up and the burst of speed he possessed once getting through the line.
Alexander finished with 40 career touchdowns from 1975-78, which ranks third among Tiger running backs.
Very humble individual. One of Charles McClendon's prize recruits. Alexander is from Galveston and for McClendon to claim a blue chipper out of state was quite a coup in those days.
Alexander set two Sun Bowl rushing records, carrying 31 times for 197 yards, as he won Offensive Player of the Game honors in the 1977 Sun Bowl. Despite Alexander's efforts, LSU fell to Stanford 24-14. He played his last game as a Tiger in the 1978 Liberty Bowl. Alexander gained 133 yards on 24 carries in the 20-15 loss to Missouri. In 1989, Alexander was inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame.
No. 9: Harvey Williams. Williams grew up in Hempstead, Texas, where he was touted as one of the country's top high school running back prospects in 1986. Williams was considered a lock to commit to nearby Texas A&M, but shocked everyone when he committed to LSU at the last minute on signing day to play for Bill Arnsparger.
Despite knee injuries, Williams still had a decent college career, however. He ran for over 2,800 yards in his four years at LSU, and is fifth in LSU history in career all-purpose yards (4,066).
Williams was electrifying, but also didn't mind running between the tackles. I remember him on the field when it was apparent he was in a lot of pain.
No. 8: Sammy Martin. One of the many overachievers to play for the Tigers. Martin was a small guy who many felt would not hold up against SEC teams. His blazing speed made him a whole lot of fun to watch from 1984-87. Despite his size (5-11, 175), he still finished with 3,298 rushing yards, which ranks 10th among LSU backs.
And he was so much fun to watch returning kickoffs (1,066 yards on 43 attempts.
No. 7: Brad Davis. Let's face it, there was no other way to describe this guy but as a big, slow white boy.
But Davis played with more heart than most guys who put on the purple and gold. He was a workhorse (456 carries from 1972-74) who finished with 2,165 yards).
The "Hammond Hammer" was Academic All-SEC and All-American.
McClendon served as a father figure after Brad's dad died unexpectedly during his senior year in high school.
Davis visited Alabama, but was not offered by Bear Bryant.
Of course, Davis will always be remembered for one of the most memorable moments in LSU history. On November 4, 1972 in Tiger Stadium against Ole Miss, the end of the game led to the date being known as 'the day the clock stood still'
The Tigers came away with a 17-16 win by managing to squeeze four plays out of the final 10 seconds of the game.
Davis was actually on the bench when the drive started, but when Chris Dantin broke a shoulder pad strap, he went in to block for Bert Jones.
Jones threw two incompletions and found himself with four seconds remaining.
Third down saw another incomplete pass, but there was still one second remaining.
Davis was in the slot when he slid underneath Gerald Keigley and Joe Fakier. He then caught Jones' pass inside the flag for a touchdown and the win.
Davis played in the Senior Bowl where he roomed with Walter Payton for a week.
No. 6: Joseph Addai. Nothing really stood out about this guy when he signed in 2001. Shyrone Carey seemed to be getting more publicity. Not to mention you would add Justin Vincent and Alley Broussard on the team.
But Addai just kept performing week in and week out, nothing flashy at all, just bringing it each Saturday night.
Addai ranked fifth all-time in rushing, with 2,577 yards, despite being primarily used as a blocking fullback early in his career. He wore two numbers while at LSU, 41 in his early years and then number 10 in his final years.
Addai started his stint at LSU in 2001, but after only two games was granted a medical redshirt. The following season, he carried the football 80 times, gaining 438 yards, and scoring four touchdowns His first big game came against South Carolina, during which he gained 98 yards on eleven carries and scored two touchdowns. On November 9, 2002, he amassed 91 yards, including a 63 yard run for a score, against Kentucky in the Bluegrass Miracle game.
Addai's sophomore season proved to be a banner year for LSU with the first national championship for LSU since 1958. Addai ranked second to Vincent in rushing, gaining 520 yards on 114 attempts. He led LSU's early season 59-13 rout of Arizona with an 86 yard, two touchdown performance.
In 2004, he rushed for 680 yards on 101 carries and caught 24 passes for 294 yards, scoring a total of seven touchdowns.
During his senior season, Addai led the team with 911 rushing yards on 187 carries, scoring nine touchdowns.
No. 5: Hokie Gajan. See Brad Davis above. How many guys like Gajan would be returning kickoffs? But there he was against Wyoming in 1978, returning three kickoffs for 137 yards.
Hokie did all the dirty work and loved it. He gave 110 percent on every play and is the epitome of LSU Tiger football.
And, of course, you gotta love him as an analyst with the New Orleans Saints.
No. 4. Tommy "Trigger" Allen. Kind of a strange one to put in the top five, but it was 1967, when I was just starting to get into going to Death Valley. I can still remember the old Morning Advocate pictures where they would show a run by Allen and have the dashes following his run to the end zone.
This is more a sentimental vote than anything.
Allen was red-shirted as a tailback his freshman season at LSU and going into his sophomore year was listed third on the depth chart behind Jim Dousay and Maurice Leblanc. Dousay and Leblanc both suffered pulled muscles going into the 1966 season opener against South Carolina.
On his first play of the season his sophomore season on a kickoff return, Allen had the ball come down and hit him on the helmet and go out of bounds.
Things sure did get better for Allen as he led the Tigers in scoring that season with 31 points then led LSU in rushing his junior campaign with 535 yards on 106 attempts. That doesn't sound like much, but considering McClendon's grind it out style and how everyone knew what was coming, that was quite a feat in those days.
No. 3: Kevin Faulk. I can still see this guy motoring all around Tiger Stadium, that No. 3 leaving many defenders behind. Despite his size, Faulk leads in career touchdowns with 46. He just had a nose for the end zone. HIs 376 all-purpose yards against Houston in 1996 still ranks as the best.
Following high school, Faulk immediately became the starting running back as a true freshman in 1995. In 1996, Faulk was voted to the College Football All-America Team by the Associated Press. He ran for 1,144 yards on 205 carries in 1997, scoring 15 touchdowns. He improved on those numbers as a senior in 1998 when he ran for 1,279 yards on 229 carries and scored 12 rushing touchdowns. He added 287 yards receiving and three receiving touchdowns.
Faulk finished his LSU career with 4,557 yards rushing in 41 games, which was second best in SEC history behind the legendary Herschel Walker of Georgia (5,259 yards in 34 games).
Faulk also finished his career with 6,833 career all-purpose yards and 53 total touchdowns, which tied him for fifth in NCAA history and first in SEC history. His SEC record was surpassed on November 21, 2009 by Florida's Tim Tebow.
No. 2: Dalton Hilliard. Garry James got the publicity when the Dalton-James gang arrived in Tigertown. But it was Hilliard who made the bigger splash. I remember the LSU defensive coaches were furious during the summer because their players could not shut down a freshman back named Hilliard. Come to find out, neither could anybody else.
I will never forget the 1984 game against Notre Dame where he put a move on an Irish linebacker who ended up reaching for air while Hilliard was headed to the sideline and another long TD run.
Unfortunately, Steve Beurerlein led the Irish to a 30-22 win over the Tigers that day.
Hilliard's 44 career TDs ranks second to Faulk.
His hips definitely looked like they had hinges on them when he ran, but when the Tigers needed the tough yardage, Hilliard was the man.
No. 1: Guess you probably figured it out by now. It has to be Jacob Hester. Funny thing is I started following Hester through the Evangel HIgh School web site when they called him J-Train. It was fun then and a lot more fun when he got to Baton Rouge.
In 2004, Hester played as a freshman, starting one game and seeing action in the other 11. He ran for 123 yards on 20 carries in his rookie year, and added two pass receptions for 21 yards. He also made nine tackles on special teams.
As a senior in 2007, the Tigers selected him to be a team captain. He was the starting tailback for the Tigers. He rushed 225 times for 1,103 yards and 12 touchdowns. He added a touchdown catch, and totalled 14 receptions for 106 yards. In LSU's 14 games during the 2007 season, Hester led the Tigers in rushing 10 times. His first 100 yard game came against Florida. Hester gained 106 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown.
And, of course, the well-documented fourth-and-short conversion runs he had in those games. In the final game of his college career in the national championship against Ohio State he rushed 21 times for 86 yards and a touchdown. He did all of this while being a part of a five-man rotation with Keiland Williams, Trindon Holliday, Charles Scott, and Richard Murphy.
And, despite not having a lot of speed, I will never forget the 87-yard TD run against Louisiana Tech (fifth longest in LSU history) which seemed to take as long as a commercial break to complete.
There have been some great backs at LSU. I can't wait to adjust this list over the next few years.
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